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Corn hits decade high; Gold eases; Amid sanctions, Brazil gets fertilizers from Russia

RIYADH: Gold edged lower on Tuesday as the dollar strengthened, with expectations that prices in the near-term could retest bullion’s resistance at the key $2,000 per-ounce level.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,977.19 per ounce, as of 0409 GMT. US gold futures slipped 0.2 percent to $1,981.60.

Gold climbed to $1,998.10 on Monday, buoyed by safe-haven demand, as the Ukraine crisis dragged on and inflation concerns mounted. However, the metal later gave up most gains as the dollar and US 10-year Treasury yields firmed.

Palladium falls

Spot silver gained 0.1 percent to $25.85 per ounce. 

Platinum rose 0.8 percent to $1,018.48, while palladium dropped 0.2 percent to $2,433.48. 

Corn prices skyrocketing

US grains futures edged higher on Tuesday, with corn prices touching a decade high, as unfavorable US weather and stalled Black Sea exports due to the Ukraine crisis intensified worries over tightening global supplies.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade climbed as high as $8.13-1/2 a bushel, its highest since September 2012, from Monday’s close of $8.07.

CBOT wheat was up 0.8 percent at $11.38 a bushel by 0239 GMT, while CBOT soybeans gained 0.6 percent to $17.25 a bushel.

Russian fertilizer supply to Brazil normal

Despite concern that sanctions against Russia would cause a shortfall of fertilizer in Brazil, preliminary shipping data shows orders being fulfilled and vessels heading for Brazil, potentially allowing a normal grain planting season.

At least 24 vessels carrying almost 678,000 tons of Russian fertilizers from ports in the country are expected to reach Brazil in the next few weeks, according to preliminary shipping data compiled by Agrinvest Commodities and seen by Reuters on Monday.

Despite sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, the data show 11 of the 24 vessels left ports including Saint Petersburg and Murmansk after Feb. 24, when the war started. Most are carrying potassium chloride used on soy and cornfields.

Foreign units of Russian firms continue to fulfill orders 

The Pebble Beach, with a 35,000-ton potassium chloride load, was the latest to leave Russia on April 4 en route to Vitoria port in Brazil’s Southeast, the data showed.

A fertilizer trader said deals were still possible as foreign units of Russian firms continue to fill orders, while banks untouched by Western sanctions process the payments.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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